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International Students & Scholars

Immigration Updates

This past year there have been a series of Executive Orders issued by the current administration. Some of them may impact visa processing and certain nationals’ entry to the U.S. under certain visa type. We have been following up throughout the year and updating you on this page with any new development. So far, based on the latest Supreme Court Order from Dec. 4, 2017, with the exception of Syria and North Korea, F-1 and J-1 visa applicants are not affected. We will continue to update you.

We here at Pace International want you to know that we value your presence at Pace University and support you. Regardless of your background, religious affiliation, or country of origin, each of you are an important member of our academic community. We will continue to admit students in a way consistent with our non-discrimination policy. Your global perspectives enrich Pace every day. Your presence on campus reflects our foundational commitment to inclusion and diversity.
 


Accrual of Unlawful Presence

Effective August 9, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy regarding the unlawful presence of F, J, and M nonimmigrants. This impacts students who fail to maintain their status in the U.S. who are on F, J, and M visas, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents.

For F-1 students, if you fail to maintain your status you may face deportation and a lengthy bar from the U.S. (from three to ten years). Maintaining your F-1 lawful status has ALWAYS been extremely important. This new policy increases monitoring of possible violations. There are many ways International Students & Scholars (ISS) can support you regarding this new policy as it applies to F-1 visa holders. However, always remember the basics for proper status maintenance:

  • Enroll full-time by the beginning of each semester. ISS is required to report to the Department of Homeland Security if student is registered full-time or dropped below full-time within 30 days from the start semester date
  • If you have a reason to register part-time, please review the instructions for obtaining authorization for Reduced Course Load.
  • If you need an extension of the program you must notify ISS at least 30 days before the program end date listed on your I-20.
  • If you plan to transfer to another school upon completion of your degree, make sure to be accepted and request a SEVIS Transfer to your new school before your 60-day grace period is over.
  • Apply for the Post-completion OPT at least 60 days before the official completion day.
  • Make sure to report your employment while on OPT before your 90-day unemployment clock is over.
  • Never exceed 60-day grace period legal stay following the end date of your OPT or program completion.
  • Read all the emails sent out by the ISS on immigration reminders and updates.
  • Always consult with ISS staff when in doubt!

REMEMBER - Time is of the essence when it comes to the law: enroll on-time; report on-time, meet with your International Student Advisor on-time (as soon as a problem arises); depart on-time when the grace-period is over.

Here is a compiled list of certain actions which do NOT trigger unlawful presence:

  • During the period permitted of up to 30 days before the program start date listed on Form I-20
  • While the F-1 nonimmigrant is pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution approved by DHS for attendance by foreign students, and any additional periods of authorized pre- or post-completion practical training, including authorized periods of unemployment
  • During a change in educational levels provided the F-1 nonimmigrant transitions to the new educational level according to transfer procedures
  • While the F-1 nonimmigrant is in a cap gap period that is, during an automatic extension of an F-1 nonimmigrant’s D/S and employment authorization for a beneficiary of an H-1B petition and request for a change of status that has been timely filed and states that the employment start date for the F-1 nonimmigrant is October 1 of the following fiscal year
  • While the F-1 nonimmigrant’s application for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) remains pending
  • While the F-1 nonimmigrant is pursuing a school transfer provided that he or she has maintained status
  • The period of time a timely-filed reinstatement application is pending with USCIS;
  • The period of time an F-1 nonimmigrant was out of status if he or she applies for reinstatement provided that the application is ultimately approved;
  • During annual vacation permitted the F-1 nonimmigrant is eligible and intends to register for the next term;
  • During any additional grace period as permitted to prepare for departure, i.e. 60 days following completion of a course of study and any authorized practical training;
  • During 15-day grace period following 15 days the authorized withdrawal from classes (LOA) and recorded in SEVIS by DSO as authorized early withdrawal for termination reason;
  • During a period of reduced course load, as authorized by the DSO

Compiled based on the USCIS Final Policy Memorandum


U.S. Supreme Court upholds Travel Ban 3.0 

On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of the Travel Ban. The ban had been in effect since December 4, 2017, after the Supreme Court stayed preliminary injunctions that had partially blocked the ban. Travel Ban 3.0 is currently in effect for the following seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia. The ban generally applies only to nationals of subject countries who were outside the U.S. and without a valid U.S. visa when the ban went into effect.  The ban restrictions are country-specific.

The ban permits the continued issuance of student (F-1) and exchange visitor/scholar (J-1) visa for nationals of the affected countries, with exception of North Korea and Syria.  Nationals of these countries are banned from obtaining non-immigrant visas, F-1/J-1 visa to include. 


Indefinite Entry Bar under Executive Order

On December 4th 2017, the Supreme Court issued an order which permitted implementation of the September 24th travel ban. The Supreme Court order allows the government to fully enforce Travel Ban 3.0 on all 8 countries, as listed below, within the original scope of Proclamation 9645. It also means that whether a citizen of one of the 8 countries has a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States is no longer relevant in determining if he or she is subject to the travel ban.

Nationals of the eight countries are subject to various travel restrictions as outlined in the following table, set forth in Proclamation. However, as evidenced from the table, with the exception of Syria and North Korea, F-1 and J-1 visa applicants for now are not affected.

Country Nonimmigrant Visas Immigrant and Diversity Visas
Chad No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Iran No nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Libya No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas
North Korea No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Somalia   No immigrant or diversity visas
Syria No nonimmigrant visas No immigrant or diversity visas
Venezuela No B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas of any kind for officials of the following government agencies Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Corps of Scientific Investigations, Judicial and Criminal; the Bolivarian Intelligence Service; and the People's Power Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and their immediate family members.  
Yemen No B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas No immigrant or diversity visas

As specified in the Proclamation, consular officers may issue a visa based on a listed waiver category to nationals of countries identified in the Presidential Proclamation on a case-by-case basis, when they determine: that issuance is in the national interest, the applicant poses no national security or public safety threat to the United States, and denial of the visa would cause undue hardship. An individual who seeks to travel to the United States should apply for a visa and disclose during the visa interview any information that might demonstrate that he or she is eligible for a waiver.

On December 22nd the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (covering the west coast) overruled the current version of the travel ban as being beyond Presidential authority, but only as to those within a credible bona fide relationship with the United States. It now awaits decision in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, before a decision on the ban will be ready for the Supreme Court.

Resources:


Courts temporarily block Trump's Revised Travel Ban

  • "March 16, 2017: The U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, preventing the Government from enforcing Executive Order 13780's 90-day entry bar, but not the executive order's bar on refugee admissions.
  • March 15, 2017: The U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order, preventing the Government from enforcing the 90-day entry bar and 120-day refugee entry bar."

    (NAFSA Travel Advisory)

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New Executive Order on Immigration

On March 6, 2017 President Trump issued a new Executive Order on immigration. This replaces the previous Executive Order that restricted immigration and travel by nationals of seven muslim-marjority countries. The new Executive order removes Iraq from the list of barred countries.

Key points of the new Executive Order:

  • A 90 day suspension (effective March 16, 2017) of the issuance of visas to and entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
  • It applies to foreign nationals OUTSIDE the United States on its effective date, March 16, 2017.
  • It does not apply to dual national of the 6 countries when traveling on a passport of a non designated country,
  • Visa interviews may no longer be waived.
  • All foreign nationals presenting themselves for admission are subject to scrutiny by the officers of U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
  • The new order specifically limits its scope to foreign nationals outside the United States.
  • No special announcement from USCIS in connection with this Executive Order, which means that adjudication of extensions of stay and changes of status, and other benefits applicable to a non-immigrant visa, so far remain unaffected.

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Immigration News Alert

February 9, 2017 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled (PDF) that the Temporary Restraining Order against the travel ban instituted by the Executive Order remains in place. Therefore, individuals from the seven designated countries, who have valid visas and are otherwise eligible to enter the U.S., may board carriers abroad and travel to the United States to apply for admission. Individuals from the seven countries, however, are still cautioned about leaving or entering the U.S. as additional court action could be taken at any time. Further, individuals from the seven countries have reported that they are being inspected more vigorously than heretofore, including having their electronic gear searched, with demands for passwords for e-mail and social web sites, and the like. Remember, too, that when flying to the United States, unless and until you are admitted by U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers, you do not have a right to counsel, or to the full panoply of rights you would have once admitted. USC&BP has clarified that dual nationals who are traveling on a non-seven country passport, but who may be dual nationals of one of the seven countries, are to be treated based upon the passport they present, should the travel ban be reinstated. On February 13, 2017, the 9th Circuit began the process of considering whether the Government’s quest to lift the temporary restraining order should be reheard by the 9th Circuit en banc, that is to say, by the entire court rather than by the three judge panel which decided the case previously. If such an action were taken, a change in the situation could occur quickly. In all of these circumstances, persons from the seven countries should try to avoid travel if at all possible.

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Court temporarily blocks Trump's travel ban, but situation remains fluid

Recent events have provided confusing signals to those attempting to understand the effects of the President’s Executive Order suspending entry to the United States for visa holders from the seven majority-Muslim countries.

On January 31, 2017, the Justice Department released a State Department notice revoking most visas that had previously been issued to travelers from the seven majority-Muslim countries covered by the Executive Order. Although the notice allows for waivers of the revocation "on a case-by-case basis,” it is unclear what the procedure to obtain a waiver may be. The effect of this notice may be to prevent those previously legal visa holders from returning to the U.S. if they leave the country.

On February 3, 2017, a federal judge in Seattle issued an order temporarily blocking the Executive Order from being enforced, nationwide. The court order at least temporarily reopened America’s door to visa holders from the seven predominantly Muslim countries.

On February 4, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced that to comply with the Seattle Federal Court order, until further notice, it would stop flagging travelers from the seven countries. In a similar move, the U.S. State Department announced that it would allow people with valid visas into the United States. However, it was also reported that the Justice Department intends to seek an emergency stay of the Seattle Court’s order. If the stay is obtained, enforcement of the Executive Order bar on persons from the seven countries, will resume.

Because of the fluidity of this situation, we reiterate our recommendation that any visa or temporary or permanent green card holders from the seven countries consult with an immigration expert before leaving the U.S., due to the possibility that you may be unable to return.

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For ALL Non-immigrant F-1 visa holders

Please allow for an extended period of time abroad for visa processing; visa interview wait times are expected to increase significantly. You can review the visa appointment and application processing times at the Department of State’s website.

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For citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen

The Executive Order implements an immediate ban on entry to the U.S. for 90 days for nationals (citizens) from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. If you are from one of these countries, you can legally remain in the U.S. provided you maintain your current visa status. We strongly recommend not traveling outside of the U.S. at this time.

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Holds on USCIS applications/petitions

In connection with the implementation of the Executive Order, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services employees have been directed not to take any final action on any type of application/petition for naturalization, asylum, change of visa status or ANY other benefits for citizens/nationals of the seven countries, until further notice.

For current and prospective Pace students and employees who are citizens/nationals of the seven countries, who have applications pending or were planning to submit such applications to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, those applications will not be adjudicated going forward.

For students and employees of the Pace Community who have pending naturalization applications for relatives whom they wished to sponsor for permanent residence, or who had two year admissions to permanent residence which would normally be extended at the end of the two year period upon a showing of the couple’s having continued to live in a marital relationship – it appears that all of that will be halted until further notice until the situation is changed. Please note, all these people can and should file their applications and petitions; but no final action will be taken on them until some unnamed date.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Guidance

February 3, 2017 -- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Implementation of January 27 Executive Order (PDF)
USCIS has announced, counter to previous reports in the press, that there is no current “hold” on processing applications for immigration benefits filed with USCIS that do not “directly confer travel authorization,” including change of status (I-539), F-1 Optional Practical Training (I-765), J-2 work permission (I-765), H-1B petitions (I-129), etc. Applications can be filed with USCIS, receipted, and processed.

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At these challenging times, we want to offer you the following resources:

  • Pace University Counseling Center - New York City, (212) 346-1526, and Westchester, (914) 773-3710
  • And of course, the ISS dedicated staff is here to help you!

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New York City Police Department (NYPD) Policy on Immigration Status

"The NYPD is committed to maintaining a welcoming environment for immigrant communities while also maintaining public safety for all. With this backdrop, the NYPD believes it is important to reiterate our immigration related policies.

  • The NYPD accepts the city's IDNYC as a valid and recognized form of government-issued identification including for the issuance of summonses and Desk Appearance Tickets.
  • The NYPD does not inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who call or approach the police seeking assistance.
  • The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. Specifically, this department does not enforce administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges solely in connection with civil immigration violations.

It is our city's resolve to remain a safe and welcoming place for all immigrants.

THE NYPD IS HERE FOR YOU."

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